Project 12213EZ

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Contemporary Clock

There seems to be a surprisingly large number of woodworkers who feel that to do any kind of clockmaking requires exceptional skills and years of practice. No doubt that’s true for some clock designs, but certainly not for all of them. Many kinds of clocks are remarkably easy to make, especially since the advent of battery powered quartz movements. This attractive contemporary clock falls well within the skill level of even a beginning woodworker. Oak solid stock is used throughout, and the joinery is basic. If you’ve never built a clock before, and would like to try, this is a good one to cut your teeth on.

Contemporary Clock Complete Schematic

Contemporary Clock Step-by-Step Instructions
1. Obtain the battery operated quartz pendulum movement, hands, and dashes at a clockmaker’s supply store. 2. Select 5/8" thick stock with a pleasing appearance to make the front and back of the clock. 3. Cut both parts to a width of 10-3/4" and a length of 18-1/4". 4. Check to make sure that the cuts are square.

5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27.

Lay out the location of the openings in each part. Drill a 3/8" hole in the waste stock. Use this hole as a starting point to use the saber saw to cut out the openings. Determine the measurements of the hole in the front part that accommodate the movement shaft. Lay out and drill that hole. Select 3/4" thick stock to make the frame. Cut the top and bottom each to 2-3/4" x 10-3/4". Cut the sides each to the same width, but make them both 10-3/4" long. Set the table or radial arm sawblade to 45 degrees to begin making the miters. NOTE: Since the angle must be exact, don’t rely on the crude gauges that most saws have. Instead use a draftsman’s 45-degree triangle to check the angle. Cut the miters. Apply a coat of glue to the miters to begin assembling the frame. Let that coat soak in to the stock. Apply another coat of glue to the miters. Use corner clamps to secure each joint (see photo). Set the frame aside to dry overnight. Apply glue to the mating surfaces where the front and back join the frame. Use C-clamps (see photo) with clamp pads to protect the clock case to hold the pieces together while the glue dries. Use a router with a 1/2" rounding-over bit to round over all edges. Give all surfaces a thorough sanding. Apply a coat of penetrating oil to finish. Assemble the movement. Assemble the case as shown. NOTE: The opening in the back makes for easy access to the movement. Add the “AA” alkaline battery that supplies the power to complete.

These plans were originally published in Volume 7, Issue 1 of The Woodworker’s Journal (Jan./Feb. 1983, pages 46-47).

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